The next time you hoist a pint, say "Na zdrowie" and remember them.
But they were also flying Hurricanes. They shot down a lot more 109s than they lost. The difference was their training.
There is also a movie "Hurricane" about them.
There is also a movie about a "sergeant Wojtek" in the Polish Army. He enjoyed his wine and beer. He was excellent on guard duty as well. He was NOT Polish. After the war, he was a hit with the children in one Scottish village. But then, well, you could kinda, sorta, say that he went to jail.
Hurricanes outnumbered Spits.
The Battle of Britain was won by pilots not planes.
It was more than just the pilots. The air crew, the ground support, the command echelon, the production people, and others. But it was a combination of the right people and the right equipment.
Stephen Bungay (The Most Dangerous Enemy) summed it up rather well:
It is ironic that the British and the Germans swapped the characteristics they commonly attribute to each other
He then lists five examples which I won't repeat as they are frankly too long - but include Leadership, carefully prepared, but flexible, system, discipline and control, team work, determination and ruthlessness. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the battle.
As for the Poles, it is not an Untold Story - I've read four books on the Battle of Britain, seen two films and untold numbers of documentaries. The contribution of the Poles, Czechs, and all those who took part from within the Commonwealth, and from without, is never covered up, marginalised or in anyway downgraded. Dowding is on record as stating the battle may not have turned out the same without them. I've posted previously on these forums pictures of the tasteful Polish war memorial in North London and do so again here.
I had read somewhere about some controversy over a victory parade or something that the Poles weren't invited to participate in or something at the end of the war and one of the British commanders at the time commenting that the battle would have turned out the same had the Polish squadrons not been there and that sort of thing. I've heard there was a big stink having to do with the Poles not receiving proper credit that some felt they should have at the time. Is that true or is it mostly hype?
As said, four books, two films and numerous documentaries - and not to forget Hugh Dowding's own thoughts on the subject that he had no trouble in making public - and the Poles have never been sidelined, downplayed or marginalised in any of them.
Was there pressure brought on by the Soviets not to include the Poles in the victory parade at the end of the war? It would appear so, and sadly that pressure was successful at the time. But that seems to confuse two separate issues.
By the way, I do love those that like to portray the British (French and Americans) and their treatment of Poland at the end of the war as some gross betrayal. I mean they NEVER bother to actually come up with an alternative as to what should have happened. They just throw mud in the usual holier-than-thou style but don't trouble to actually understand the situation and come up with what they think should have been done. The British (French and Americans) did NOT hand over Poland to the Communists. In case it escaped anyone's attention, Stalin was already in occupation having beaten the Red Army.
And what were the Western Allies to do? Go to war against the Soviet Union so soon after the end of the world's most bloody conflict? And with a country they were Allied to? How many British, French and American troops would have been up for that in 1945?
Short of threatening Moscow with nuclear destruction, there was NOTHING the Western Allies could do to save Poland.
Some of those Americans troops in Europe (and not just Patton) felt that they should have kept going because they figured that there would be a war with the Soviet Union anyway. There was not much that could for Poland have been done since the troops were stopped from going farther Eastward. Plus the local Polish Army had been knocked about in the Warsaw uprising when the Soviets did not advance. If the Americans would have taken Berlin and beyond up to the Polish border, something could have been done. Of course, the Americans may not have gone that far. Then again, that is speculation. If war would have broken out, think of Japanese T-34/85s . . .
Well I don't believe for one nano-second there was a snowballs chance in hell of an attack on the USSR by the Western Allies. I also don't believe the troops would have stood for it - even if the leaders were dumb enough to even consider it (look at the Communist sympathy for the USSR when the war broke out in Britain, France etc.) and most of those conscripted troops had had enough and wanted to go home. They would have been praying for the end of Germany to achieve just that - and then - having done so, to be told they are now fighting the Soviets would have been unthinkable to a great many I suspect (and I am not talking about those with Communist leanings either). Imagine what the Soviets would have done in the Far East too. They wouldn't have invaded Manchuria for one thing. Of course that wouldn't matter ultimately to the fate of Japan but it would have been more costly in American lives if the Japanese suddenly receive help from the Soviets.
It would have been an utter betrayal and total madness.
True, it would have been madness but I only repeated what I heard and read.
Seek peace but keep your gun handy.
I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!
“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child